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UNC MP Dr Roodal Moonilal.

United National Congress MP Dr Roodal Moonilal yesterday called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to “get his paws off the police service at once.”

Moonilal made the comment in a statement yesterday after reports suggested the Government had made a complaint to the Police Service Commission about Griffith in the wake of his spat with Rowley over the COVID regulation regarding social gatherings.

“The blatant attempt by the prime minister to hound and manipulate the T&T Police Service is another example of the authoritarianism of his administration. In seeking to direct and manoeuvre Commissioner Gary Griffith, the Prime Minister is indulging in a dangerous activity that has serious implications for law and order and political stability,” Moonilal said.

“Dr Rowley should take relevant and effective laws for debate in Parliament as directed by a recent High Court ruling. The prime minister’s public confrontation with the Police Commissioner is a manifest attempt to bring political pressure and to undermine an independent institution and subvert the entrenched rule of law.

“More than anyone else in public life, Dr Rowley must know that office-holders cannot instruct or direct a Commissioner in the exercise of his duties. The Police Service must remain unshackled from the clutches of meddling figures in public office who seek to pervert the law for their narrow political gains.”

Moonilal added, “The prime minister must abandon his attempt to place Mr Griffith under his thumb, and, instead, instruct his Attorney General to draft appropriate legislation to deal with any perceived legal loophole.”

Noting the reported PSC intervention in the matter, Moonilal added, “This is most dastardly and diabolical. What conduct? What behaviour? Who reported such a complaint against the CoP?”

“This is a naked attempt to intimidate the CoP into doing the bidding of the political directorate. A PSC that cannot nominate deputy commissioners of police for two years now speedily meets to discuss a ghost complaint on unknown conduct … government mustn’t be permitted to walk the dangerous road of bringing political pressure on the Police Service.”